"The sky above me glows like the ancient patina of saints," says the main character, Adam, in a fever-induced hallucinatory observation of the alien hovercraft above him. He is a high-school student artist on Earth, in the near future, sick with a disease that only alien medicine can cure, but his health insurance won't cover. His family is out of work, the aliens are the new 1%, and his artwork is the only thing he has to live for. Oh, and he falls in love but commodifies it for the aliens--who have colonized the Earth and pay good money for human artifacts or, in Adam's case, video footage, of 1950s human nostalgia. This description doesn't even cover the depths of this prescient and brilliant novella. You will see connections to the current economic and socio-political climate, and you will love the gorgeous and succinct writing. I especially love how each chapter is a vignette with Adam's paintings as titles - a kind of nod to a piece of art within an art form. This book is one of my new favorites--I highly recommend it!— Sam Kolber
National Book Award winner M. T. Anderson returns to future Earth in a sharply wrought satire of art and truth in the midst of colonization.
When the vuvv first landed, it came as a surprise to aspiring artist Adam and the rest of planet Earth--but not necessarily an unwelcome one. Can it really be called an invasion when the vuvv generously offered free advanced technology and cures for every illness imaginable? As it turns out, yes. With his parents' jobs replaced by alien tech and no money for food, clean water, or the vuvv's miraculous medicine, Adam and his girlfriend, Chloe, have to get creative to survive. And since the vuvv crave anything they deem classic Earth culture (doo-wop music, still life paintings of fruit, true love), recording 1950s-style dates for the vuvv to watch in a pay-per-minute format seems like a brilliant idea. But it's hard for Adam and Chloe to sell true love when they hate each other more with every passing episode. Soon enough, Adam must decide how far he's willing to go--and what he's willing to sacrifice--to give the vuvv what they want.